1922 ~ 2013|
Jens Johannes Jonsson went to his heavenly home on February 28, 2013. He died in his home following a brief illness. He will be greatly missed by family and friends. His life was one of service to family, church, community, and profession.
Jens was born to John and Catharina Jonsson on April 4, 1922, in Mildstedt, Germany: the first fruit of Mormonism after his parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His parents gave up a prosperous blacksmithing business and with Jens and an older brother and sister immigrated to Utah in 1927, and settled in Highland.
Jens was a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.S. in General Engineering. He then completed a tour of duty in the Navy, after which he married his college sweetheart, Helen Broadbent, in the Salt Lake Temple. Then it was back to the U. of U. to finish additional classes giving him a degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1947, he was offered an assistantship at Purdue University in Indiana that culminated with a MS and finally a PhD in 1951.
At North American Aviation in California, Jens was involved in fire and flight control of airplanes. Aside from teaching at the U. of U. and Purdue, in 1953 he answered a challenge to develop the Electrical Engineering Program at BYU. That effort was interspersed with summers and sabbatical leaves to Wisconsin, Michigan, Stanford (to assist in designing a probe to go near the sun), Romania (UNESCO) as a technical expert, Turkey and Kenya (to start electrical engineering programs) and China (teaching English as a second language). He often said, "I enjoy having others pay for my vacations even if I have to work when I get there." Along the way he shared his zest for life and knowledge of the restored gospel. The fledgling 1953 electrical engineering program at BYU has matured into one of the outstanding programs of the country. He was proud to have been part of sending some 3,500 students into their professional careers. His professional life started in electrical power, moved to radio and microwave frequencies, then into automatic control, and finally computers.
He was an Eagle Scout. He was the recipient of many engineering awards, including the Western Electric Fund award for excellence in engineering instruction, and the Utah Engineering Council Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Engineering Contribution in Education. He was one of ten BYU Emeriti Associate 2002 honorees. He was an officer of some 13 community, state, and national organizations, made some twenty contributions to professional journals and wrote two books.
Jens has always been an active member of the LDS Church and in the process has served as first Branch President of the Purdue Branch, in Indiana; the Whittier First Ward Bishop in California; a member of a BYU High Council; and a counselor in a BYU Stake Presidency, plus other teaching and leadership callings.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Helen Broadbent Jonsson.
He is survived by his children, Craig Jonsson (Cindy), Diane Thayer, Karen Hughes (Craig), Catherine Tezak (Derek Shupe), and Eric Jonsson (Maureen), 19 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, his brother Paul Fred Jonsson, and sister Mary Young.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at the Rock Canyon LDS Chapel, 2445 North Timpview Drive, Provo, Utah. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Tuesday evening from 6:00-7:30 p.m. and at the church Wednesday from 9:00-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment, East Lawn Memorial Hills, Provo, Utah. Condolences may be sent through his obituary at www.bergmortuary.com.
Published in Deseret News on Mar. 3, 2013